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Intermediate Kayak Instruction: Playboating 101
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Intermediate Kayak Instruction: Playboating 101

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 8 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 16 people
Destination(s): Chile  
Specialty Categories: Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting  
Season: December - April
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1995 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1995 US Dollar (USD)

Southern Chile is a kayak surfing paradise. We developed this course specifically to take advantage of the "Big Water" surfing features available to us on the Futaleufu River and its tributaries. We have the perfect teaching wave a short walk from our paddling school lodge and a great play hole at our kayak school eco-camp.

In this course you will learn the best strategies to enter and exit surfing waves, learn the basics of front surfing, back surfing, linking and spinning on waves. In hydraulics: the principles of safe side-surfing, exiting and entering, blasting, 360s, elevated 360s, and maneuvering in a hole. We will also emphasize stern squirting, pirouettes, screw-ups and some of the preliminary moves necessary to go vertical on an eddy line.

Part of the week will be spent learning the Back Deck Rodeo Roll, the double pump, flat-water cartwheels, and the bow stall. The techniques and strokes taught in this course are on the latest cutting edge of paddling instructional theory. The focus is on your learning and your fun.

Sample Itinerary:

The water levels and play features in our area vary significantly over a season and we will adapt our kayak instruction itineraries to try and take advantage of the best the Futaleufu River Valley and Chile has to offer. In some cases we will repeat sections of the Futaleufu, but will focus on different kayak skills.

Day 1: Arrival and introductions

Arrive at either of our entry points in Puerto Montt, Chile or Esquel, Argentina, the gateways to Patagonia. Connect with our representative and travel to the remote riverside town of Futaleufu, surrounded by majestic mountains. Here you will find your accommodations at our Tres Monjas Eco-Camp. A hearty meal, hot sauna, and wonderful views welcome you to Chile.

Day 2: Rio Espolon - Rodeo Back Deck Roll

After a delightful breakfast we take a short drive to the put-in of the spectacular turquoise-blue Rio Espolon - Class II/III. We warm up on the crystal-clear water, review your kayak techniques and then find a calm lagoon to begin teaching the elements of the Back Deck Rodeo Roll. Today we will also spend time on the double pump, bow wind-up, flat-water cartwheels and bow stalls. We conclude our first day of the kayak school by spending some time on the Rio Espolon surf-wave just a short walk from the town of Futaleufu, where our vehicle is ready to return you to the comforts of Campo Tres Monjas.

Day 3: Terminator Section - Surfing Himalaya

After breakfast, we put-in at our camp beach and kayak down river into the “Terminator” section. The first rapid we will come to is “School House” with its great eddy-lines and forgiving hydraulics. Here we will learn about stern squirts, pirouettes, and screw-ups. The eddy-lines are so numerous and so good that you will be able to practice these vertical kayak moves on both sides. Afterward we will negotiate “Asleep at the Wheel”, our first big drop of this week on the Futaleufu. Our next play stop will be the awesome surfing wave at “Pillow Rock” where we will be introduced to the basics of front surfing.

Next up will be the huge and powerful Class V “Terminator Rapid”. Some of the more intrepid paddlers in the group will have the opportunity to sneak (Class IV+) the “Terminator” on the left side. From the “Terminator” we will carefully pick our route through the hole-filled Class IV “Khyber Pass”, and on to some giant wave action in the Class IV "Himalayas”. We will test our skills on these giant waves and get an introduction to surfing big water. This day of kayak school ends back at camp, where we have our sauna and dinner waiting for us.

Day 4: Bridge to Bridge Section - The Heart of the Futa

Kayak instruction today will involve continuing to learn about front surfing and then introduce the basics of flat-spins, and back surfing. This section is filled with the big exploding waves for which the Futaleufu is world famous. We put-in at the “Zapata's” swinging bridge and run the “Corazón” - the Heart of the Futaleufu - previously named "The Continuous Section".

Here you will find plenty of Class IV big water action, including “Entrada”, “Pillow”, and “Mundaca”, one of the largest breaking wave holes in the world. We will spend time at whatever play-waves are in at the time of your visit to work on our surfing technique. The last river feature just before the take-out is a hole called "Dimple". Here we will introduce side surfing, 360's and elevated 360's - then back to the kayak school camp.

Day 5: Rio Azul - Practice your Skills

Today, if water levels permit, we take a break from the big water of the Futaleufu and explore a spectacular side canyon. We drive to the footbridge put-in on the Río Azul - a tight, crystal clear creek that runs through a lush micro-canyon. Here you get a chance to relax and paddle the technical drops, surf at some excellent play spots, and enjoy the scenery. Kayak instruction on the Azul will center on front surfing, flat-spins, back surfing. Instead of taking out at the camp we will head back to “School House” rapid for a review of our stern squirts, pirouettes, screw-ups and practice some of our hole-riding techniques.

Day 6: Terminator Section - Final Test

This will be a repeat of Day 3, but we will bomb through the run until we get to “Pillow Rock”. We will spend time on front surfing and playing, and then head out to the real test: “Terminator Wave”. Here we will bring together everything you have learned about surfing in the last few days. This wave is huge and fast - a great wave to practice front surfing, flat spins, and back surfing. After playing here for a while we will sneak "Terminator" on the left and head through "Khyber Pass" to the "Himalayas". All will have an opportunity to try and catch the “Shangri-La” surf-wave before heading into the "Himalayas". The rest of the kayak instruction day will be spent learning how to surf on the big faces of these epic waves.

Day 7: Bridge to El Macal - Kayak School Graduation Day!

Like the Day 4, we put-in at the swinging bridge at “Zapata,” but we will pass the Futaleufu Bridge take out and continue on to the Class IV+ “Más o Menos”, and the technical Class V “Casa de Piedra”. Finally the river eases off for the beautiful and playful Class III “El Macal” section. Those who feel they aren't ready for “Mas o Menos” or “Casa de Piedra” will have the opportunity to rejoin the group below “Casa de Piedra” after a short shuttle ride.

Having a great time on the river will be the objective for the day, focusing on the skills that we learned on this week of kayak instruction. Afterward you will be ready to slip into the wood-heated sauna and ease your tired muscles, where our camp masseuse will be available for any of your sore muscles and joints. Tonight we have a final celebration of your graduation, with spirits soaring before calling it a night.

Day 8: Departure

Wake up for an early breakfast and drive back to Chaiten, Chile and your flight to Puerto Montt, or relax for a couple of hours and take our shuttle to Esquel, Argentina. As you catch a final view of the Río Futaleufu; surrounded by hanging glaciers and snow capped mountains, take a moment to reflect upon all of the amazing sights and experiences of this past week. After all these years we are still stunned that views like these exist.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Included: All meals, lodging, transportation, kayaks, guides and river gear while paddling with us. Round trip transportation between Futaleufu and Puerto Montt or Esquel.

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South America   Chile   Outdoor: Water Drifter   Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting